Shirts on fire, shirts on fire

Billy's dream boat stills as the house alights
Sailors come from miles for a drink and a fight
But the harbour thrills pull back from the light
To the belly of a boat in a hammer shark attack

Holler, holler, holler, holler, holler, holler, holler, holler
Pleasures of the night
Seaman's delight
Holler, holler, holler, holler, holler, holler, holler, holler
Pleasures of the night
What a sight

Oh no, the organ plays by itself
It doesn't need the grinder's help
And the monkey, and the monkey stows away to sea
Back to his wife and a nest in the trees

Billy's brother plays bass in a band called Man
He fancies himself as a travelling ham
Strutting and fretting the myth to fame
In a torn T-shirt he'll carve his name

Holler, holler, holler, holler, holler, holler, holler, holler
Pleasures of the night
What a sight

Oh no, the organ plays by itself
It doesn't need the grinder's help
And the monkey, and the monkey stows away to sea
Back to his wife and a nest in the trees
Looking for adventure and some mystery
He doesn't need the grinder and he doesn't want me
Stripped off his suit
So let the poor beast be
Oh, let the poor beast be

The man said, "Ho ho wee, this is too hot for me!"
Billy's shirts on fire in the night
He said, "Ho wee this is too hot to see."
Billy's shirts on fire in the night


Lyrics submitted by MaskOfSanity

Billy's Shirts song meanings
Add your thoughts

1 Comment

sort form View by:
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is brilliant and very under-rated. The band have been pretty dismissive of this track and dropped it from their live sets early on, but in my opinion it's one of the best tracks on Stutter. It sounds like a good sea shanty, and the backing music has more of a 'Rock' feel than later James songs.

    The lyrics don't seem to make much sense, it could possibly be a metaphor for someone's craving for Rock stardom... but Tim Booth has been quoted as saying that on several tracks on Stutter he has no idea now what he was singing about, so this may well be one of them.

    Interestingly enough, another of my favorite bands, The Bolshoi, did a song a few years before this called "Billy's New Boots"... whoever Billy is, the contents of his wardrobe sure must have fascinated the Rock bands of the era. ;)
    MaskOfSanityon February 05, 2007   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain